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was, however, taken by assault; the king, who defended it in person, escaped with precipitation; a hundred thousand captives, and a rich booty, rewarded the fatigues of the Roman soldiers.(43). Notwithstanding these misfortunes, Ctesiphon succeeded to Babylon and to Seleucia, as one of the great capitals of the East . In summer the monarch of Persia enjoyed at Ecbatana the cool breezes of the mountains of Media; but the mildness of the climate engaged him to prefer Ctesiphon for his winter residence. From these successful inroads, the Romans derived no real or lasting benefit; nor did they attempt to preserve such distant conquests, separated from the provinces of the empire by a large tract of intermediate desert. The reduction of the kingdom of Osrhoene, was an acquisition of less splendour, indeed, but of a far more solid advantage. That little state occupied the northern and most fertile part of Mesopotamia, between the Euphrates and the Tigris. Edessa, its capital, was situated about twenty miles beyond the former of those rivers; and the inhabitants, since the time of Alexander, were a mixed race of Greeks, Arabs, Syrians, and Armenians.(44) The feeble sovereigns of Qsrhoene, placed on the dangerous verge of two contending empires, were attached from inclination to the Parthian cause; but the superior power of Rome exacted from them a reluctant homage, which is still attested by their medals. . After the conclusion of the Parthian war under Marcus, it was judged prudent to secure some substantial pledges of their doubtful fidelity. Forts were constructed in several parts of the country, and a Roman garrison was fixed in the strong town of Nisibis. During the troubles that followed the death of Com modus, the princes of Osrhoene attempted to shake off the yoke; but the stern policy of Severus confirmed their dependence,(45) and the perfidy of Caracalla completed the easy conquest. Abgarus, the last king of Edessa, was sent in chains to Rome, his dominions reduced into a province, and his capital dignified with the rank of colony; and thus the Romans, about ten years before the fall of the Parthian monarchy, obtained a firm and permanent establishment beyond the Euphrates.(46) o 230.] Prudence as well as glory might have justified a war on the side of Artaxerxes, had his views been confined to the defence or the acquisition of a useful frontier. But the ambitious Persian openly avowed a far more extensive design of conquest; and he thought himself able to support his lofty pretensions by the arms of reason as well as by those of power. Cyrus, he alleged, had first subdued, and his successors ho for a long time possessed, the whole extent of Asia, as far as the Propontis and the AEgean sea; the provinces of Caria and Ionia, under their empire, had been governed by Persian satraps, and all Egypt, to the confines of Æthiopia, .# acknowledged their sovereignty.(47) . Their rights had been suspended, but not destroyed, by a lo usurpation; and as soon as he received the Persian diadem, § birth j successful valour had placed upon his head, the first great duty of his station called upon him to restore the ancient limits and splendour of the monarchy. The Great King, therefore, (such was the haughty style of his embassies to the emperor Alexander) commanded the Romans instantly to depart from all the provinces of his ancestors, and yielding to the Persians the empire of Asia, to content themselves with the j possession of Europe. This haughty mandate was delivered by four hundred of the tallest and most beautiful .#. Persians; who, by their fine horses, splendid arms, and rich apparel, displayed the pride and greatness of their master.(48) Such an embassy was much less (43) Dion, l. lxxv, p. 1263. Herodian, l. iii. p. 120. Hist. August. p. 70. (44) The polished citizens of Antioch called those of Edessa mixed barbarians. It was, however, some praise, that of the three dialects of Syriac, the purest and most elegant (the Aramaean) was spoke an offer of negotiation than a declaration of war. Both Alexander Severus and Artaxerxes, collecting the military force of the Roman and Persian monarchies, resolved in this important contest to lead their armies in person. [A. D. 233.] If we credit what should seem the most authentic of all records, an oration, still extant, and delivered by the emperor himself to the senate, we must allow that the victory of Alexander Severus was not inferior to any of those formerly obtained over the Persians by the son of o The army of the Great King consisted of one hundred and twenty thousand horse, clothed in complete armour of steel; of seven hundred elephants, with towers filled with archers on their backs, and of eighteen hundred chariots, armed with scythes. This formidable host, the like of which is not to be found in eastern history, and has scarcely been imagined in eastern romance,(49) was discomfitted in a great battle, in which the Roman Alexander approved himself an intrepid soldier and a skilful general. The Great King fled before his valour; an immense booty, and the conquest of Mesopotamia, were the immediate fruits of this signal victory. Such are the circumstances of this ostentatious and improbable relation, dictated, as it too plainly appears, by the vanity of the monarch, adorned by the unblushing servility of his flatterers, and received without contradiction by a distant and obsequious senate.(50) Far from being inclined to believe that the arms of Alexander obtained any memorable advantage over the Persians, we are induced to suspect that all this blaze of imaginary glory was designed to conceal some real disgrace. Our suspicions are confirmed by the authority of a contemporary historian, who mentions the virtues of Alexander with respect, and his faults with candour. He describes the judicious plan which had been formed for the conduct of the war. Three Roman armies were destined to invade Persia at the same time, and by different roads. But the operations of the campaign, though wisely concerted, were not executed either with ability or success. The first of these armies, as soon as it had entered the marshy plains of Babylon, toward the artificial conflux of the Euphrates and the Tigris,(51) was encompassed by the superior numbers, and destroyed by the arrows of the enemy. The alliance of Chosroes king of Armenia,(52) and the long tract of mountainous country, in which the Persian cavalry was of little service, opened a secure entrance into the heart of Media, to the second of the Roman armies. These brave troops laid waste the adjacent provinces, and by several successful actions, ainst Artaxerxes, gave a faint colour to the emperor's vanity. But the retreat of this victorious army was imprudent, or at least unfortunate. In repassing the mountains, great numbers of soldiers perished by the badness of the roads, and the severity of the winter season. It had been resolved that while these two great detachments penetrated into the opposite, extremes of the Persian dominions, the main body, under the command of Alexander himself, should support their attack, by invading the centre of the kingdom. But the inexerienced youth, influenced by his mother's counsels, and perhaps by his own fears, deserted the bravest troops, and the fairest prospect of victory; and after consuming in Mesopotamia an inactive and inglorious summer, he led back to
at Edessa. This remark M. Bayer (Hist. Edess. p. 5) has borrowed from George of Malatia, a Syrian
Writer. (45) Dion, l. lxxv, p. 1248, 1249, 1250. M. Bayer has neglected to use this most important passage. (46) This kingdom, from Osrhoes, who gave a new name to the country, to the last Abgarus, had lasted
353 years. See the learned work of M. Bayer, Historia Osrhoena et Edessena. (47) Xenophon, in the preface to the Cyropaedia, gives a clear and magnificent idea of the extent of the
empire of Cyrus, Herodotus (l. iii. c. 79, &c.) enters into a curious and particular description of the
twenty great Satrapies, into which the Persian empire was divided by Darius Hystaspes.
48) Herodian, vi. 209–212
(49) There were two hundred scythed chariots at the battle of A. the host of. Darius. In the vast army of Tigranes, which was vanquished by Lucullus, seventeen thousand horse only were completely armed. Antiochus brought fifty-four elephants into the fieldo the Romans: by his frequent wars and negotiations with the princes of India, he had once collected a hundred and fifty of those great animals; but it may be questioned, whether the most powerful monarch of Hindostan ever formed a line of battle of seven hundred elephants. Instead of three or four thousand elephants, which the Great Mogul was supposed to possess, Tavernier (Voyages, part II. l. i. p. 198,) discovered, by a more accurate inquiry, that he had only five hundred for his baggage, and .. or ninety for the service of war. The Greeks have varied with regard to the number which Porus brought into the field: but Quintus Curtius (viii. 13,) in this instance, judicious and moderate, is contented with eighty-five elephants, distinguished by their size and strength. In Siam, where these animals are the most numerous and the most esteemed, eighteen elephants are allowed as a sufficient proportion for each of the nine brigades into which a just army is divided. The whole number of one hundred and sixty-two elephants of war, may sometimes be doubled. Hist. des Voyages, tom. ix. p. 260.* (50) Hist. August. p. 133.t (51) M. de Tillemont has already observed, that Herodian's geography is somewhat confused. 52; Moses of Chorene (Hist. Armen. l. ii. c. 71,) illustrates this invasion of Media, by asserting that Chosroes, king of Armenia, defeated Artaxerxes, and pursued him to the confines of India. The ox ploits of Chosroes have been magnified; and he acted as a dependentally to the Romans.
Antioch an army diminished by sickness, and provoked by disappointment. The behaviour of Artaxerxes had been very different. Flying with rapidity from the hills of Media to the marshes of the Euphrates, he had every where o d the invaders in person; and in either fortune, had united with the #. the most undaunted resolution. But in several obstinate . ments against the veteran legions of Rome, the Persian monarch had lost flower of his troops. Even his victories had weakened his power. The favourable opportunities of the absence of Alexander, and of the confusion that followed that emperor's death, presented themselves in vain to his ambition. Instead of expelling the Romans, as he pretended, from the continent of Asia, he found himself unable to wrest from their hands the little province of Mesopotamia.(53) [A. D. 246.] The reign of Artaxerxes, which from the last defeat of the Parthians lasted only fourteen years, forms a memorable era in the history of the East, and even in that of Rome. His character seems to have been marked by those bold and commanding features, that generally distinguish the princes who conquer, from those who inherit, an empire. Till the last period of the Persian monarchy, his code of laws was respected as the groundwork of their civil and religious policy.(54) Several of his sayings are preserved. One of them in particular discovers a deep insight into #. constitution of government. “The authority of the prince,” said Artaxerxes, “must be defended by a milita force; that force can only be maintained by taxes; all taxes must, at last, fall upon agriculture, and agriculture can never flourish except under the protection of justice and moderation.”(55) Artaxerxes bequeathed his new empire, and his ambitious designs against the Romans, to Sapor, a son not unworthy of his great father; but those designs were too extensive for the power of Persia, and served only to involve both nations in a long series of destructive wars and reciprocal calamities. * The Persians, long since civilized and corrupted, were very far from SSing the martial independence, and the intrepid hardiness, both of mind and body, which have rendered the northern barbarians masters of the world. The science of war, that constituted the more rational force of Greece and Rome, as it now does of Europe, never made any considerable progress in the East. Those disciplined evolutions which harmonize and animate a confused multitude, were unknown to the Persians. They were equally unskilled in the arts of constructing, besieging, or defending regular fortifications. They trusted more to their numbers than to their courage, more to their courage than to their discipline. The infantry was a half-armed spiritless crowd of peasants, levied in haste by the allurements of plunder, and as easily dispersed by a victory as by a defeat. The monarch and his nobles transported into the camp the pride and luxury of the seraglio. Their military operations were impeded by a useless train of women, eunuchs, horses, .camels, and in the midst of a suc cessful campaign, the Persian host was often separated or destroyed by an unexpected famine.(56) But the nobles of Pérsia, in the bosom of luxury and despotism, preserved a strong sense of personal gallantry and national honour. From the age of seven years they were to: to speak truth, to shoot with the bow, and to ride; and it was universally confessed, that in the two last of these arts, the had made a more than common proficiency.(57) The most distinguished yo. were educated under the monarch's eye, practised their exercises in the gate of his palace, and were severely trained up to the habits of temperance and
(53). For the account of this war, see Herodian, 1. vi. p. 209–212. The old abbreviators and modern compilers have blindly followed the Augustan History. (54) Eutychius, tom. ii. p. 180, vers. Pocock. The great Chosroes Noushirwan sent the Code of Artaxerxes to all his satraps, as the invariable rule of their conduct. (55). D'Herbelot Bibliothèque Orientale, au mot Ardshir. . . We may observe, that after an ancient period of fables, and a long interval of darkness, the modern histories of Persia begin to assume an air of truth with the dynasty of the Sassanides. (56) Herodian, 1. vi. p.214. Ammianus Marcellinus, l. xxiii. c. 6. Some differences may be observed between the two historians, the natural effects of the changes produced by a century and a half (57) The Persians are still the most skilful horsemen, and their horses the finest in the East.
obedience, in their long and laborious parties of * In every province the satrap maintained a like school of military virtue. The Persian nobles (so natural is the idea of feudal tenures) received from the king's bounty, lands and houses, on the condition of their service in war. They were ready on the first summons to mount on horseback, with a martial and splendid train of followers, and to join the numero bodies of guards, who were carefully selected from among the most robust slaves and the bravest adventurers of Asia. These armies both of light and of heavy cavalry, equally formidable by the impetuosity of their charge, and the rapidity of their motions, threatened as an impending cloud, the eastern provinces of the declining empire of Rome.(58)
The state of Germany till the invasion of the Barbarians, in the time of the -- emperor Decius.
THE government and religion of Persia have deserved some notice from their connexion with the decline and fall of the Roman empire. We shall occasionally mention the Scythian, or Sarmatian tribes, which, with their arms and horses, their flocks and herds, their wives and families, wandered over the immense plains, which spread themselves from the Caspian sea to the Vistula, from the confines of Persia to those of Germany. But the warlike Germans, who first resisted, then invaded, and at length overturned, the western monarchy of Rome, will occupy a much more important place in this history, and possess a stronger, and, if we may use the expression, a more domestic, claim to our attention and regard. e most civilized nations of modern Europe issued from the woods of Germany, and in the rude institutions of those barbarians we may still distinguish the original principles of our present laws and manners. In their primitive state of simplicity and independence, the Germans were surveyed by the discerning eye, and delineated by the masterly pencil of Tacitus,’ the first of historians who applied the science of philosophy to the study of facts. The expressive conciseness of his descriptions has deserved to exercise the diligence † innumerable antiquarians, and to excite the genius and penetration of the philosophic historians of our own times. The subject, however various and important, has already been so frequently, so ably, and so successfully discussed, that it is now grown familiar to the reader, and difficult to the writer. We shall therefore content ourselves with observing, and indeed with repeating, some of the most important circumstances of climate, of manners, and of institutions, which rendered the wild barbarians of Germany such formidable enemies to the Roman power.
Ancient Germany, excluding from its independent limits the province westward of the Rhine, which . submitted to the Roman yoke, extended itself over a third part of Europe. Almost the whole of modern Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Livonia, Prussia, and the greater part of Poland, were peopled by the various tribes of one great nation, whose complexion, manners, and language denoted a common origin, and jo. a striking resemblance. On the west, ancient Germany was divided by the Rhine from the Gallic, and on the south, by the Danube from the Illyrian provinces of the empire. A ridge of hills, rising from the Danube, and called the Carpathian mountains, covered Germany on the side of Dacia or Hungary. The eastern frontier was faintly marked by the mutual fears of the Germans and the Sarmatians, and was often confounded by the mixture of warring and confederating tribes of the two nations. In the remote darkness of the north, the ancients
(58) From Herodotus, Xenophon, Herodian, Ammianus, Chardin, &c. I have extracted such probable accounts of the Persian nobility, as seem either common to every age, or particular to that of the Sassanides. o
mperfectly descried a frozen ocean that lay beyond the Baltic sea, and beyond the peninsula, or islands,(1) of Scandinavia. Some ingenious writers(2) have suspected that Europe was much colder formerly than it is at present; and the most ancient descriptions of the climate of Germany tend exceedingly to confirm their . The general complaints of intense frost, and eternal winter, are perhaps little to be regarded, since we have no method of reducing to the accurate standard of the thermometer, the feelings, or the expressions, of an orator born in the happier regions of Greece or Asia. But I shall select two remarkable circumstances of a less equivocal nature. 1. The great rivers which covered the Roman provinces, the Rhine and the Danube, were frequently frozen over, and capable of supporting the most enormous weights. The barbarians, who often chose that severe season for their inroads, transported, without apprehension or danger, their numerous armies, their cavalry, and their heavy wagons, over a vast and solid bridge of ice.(3) Modern ages have not presented an instance of a like phenomenon. 2. The rein-deer, that useful animal, from whom the savage of the north derives the best comforts of his dreary life, is of a constitution that sup§: and even requires, the most intense cold. He is found on the rock of itzberg, within ten degrees of the Pole; he seems to delight in the snows of Lapland and Siberia; but at present he cannot subsist, much less multiply, in any country to the south of the Baltic.(4) In the time of Cesar, the reindeer, as well as the elk and the wild bull, was a native of the Hercynian forest, which then overshadowed a great part of Germany and Poland.(5) The modern improvements sufficiently explain the causes of the diminution of the cold. These immense woods, have been o cleared, which intercepted from the earth the rays of the ... The morasses have been drained, and, in proportion as the soil has been cultivated, the air has become more temperate: Canada, at this day, is an exact picture of ancient Germany. Although situated in the same parallel with the finest provinces of France and England, that country experiences the most rigorous cold. The rein-deer are very numerous, the ground is covered with deep and lasting snow, and the great river of St. Lawrence is regularly frozen, in a season when the waters of the Seine and the Thames are usually free from ice.(7) It is difficult to ascertain, and easy to exaggerate, the Influence of the climate of ancient Germany over the minds and bodies of the natives. Many writers have supposed, and most have allowed, though, as it should seem, without any adequate proof, that the rigorous cold of the North was favourable to long life and generative vigour, that the women were more fruitful, and the human species more prolific, than in warmer or more temperate climes.(8), We may assert, with greater confidence, that the keen air p Germany formed the large and masculine limbs of the natives, who were, in general, of a more lofty stature than the people of the south,(9) gave them a kind of strength better adapted to violent exertions than to patient labour, and inspired them with con
(1) The modern philosophers of Sweden seem agreed that the waters of the Baltic gradually sink in a regular proportion, which they have ventured to estimate at half an inch every year. Twenty centuries ago, the flat country of Scandinavia must have been covered by the sea; while ine highlands rose above the waters, as so many islands of various forms and dimensions. Such indeed is the notion given us by Mela, Pliny, and Tacitus, of the vast countries round the Baltic. See in the Bibliothèque Raisonnée, tom oil and ov, a large abstract of Dalin's History of Sweden, com in the Swedish language. (3) In particular, Mr. Hume, the Abbé du Bos, and M. Pelloutier, Hist, des Celtes, tom. i. (3) Diodorus Siculus, l. v. p. 340, Edit. Wessel. Herodian, 1. vi. p. 221. Jornandes, c. 55. On the banks of the Danube, the wine, when brought to table, was frequently frozen into great lumps, frusta vini. Ovid. Epist. ex Ponto, l. iv. 7. 9, 10. Virgil. Georgic. l. lii. 355. The fact is confirmed by a soldier and a philosopher, who had experienced the intense cold of Thrace. See Xenophon, Anahasis, 1. vii. p. 560. , Edit. Hutchinson. (4) Buffon Histoire Naturelle, tom. xii. p. 79–116. (5) Cesar de Bell. Gallic. vi. 3, &c. The most inquisitive of the Germans were ignorant of its utmost limits, although some of them had travelled in it more than sixty days' journey.f (6) Cluverius,(Germania Antiqua, l. iii. c. 47) investigates the small and scattered remains of the Hercynian wood. (7) Charlevoix Histoire du Canada. (8) Olaus Rudbeck asserts that the Swedish women often bear ten or twelve children, and not uncommonly twenty or thirty; but the *. of Rudbeck is much to be suspected. (9) In hos artus, in hieccorpora, quomiramur, excrescunt. Tacit. Germania, 3.20. Cluver.l. i. c. 14. (10) Plutarch, in Mario. The Cimbri, by way of amusement, often slid down mountains of snow on their broad shields.